Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stratum



                          Gliding down a shoot
                           The river's smooth tongue pulls
                           Us into leaping haystacks where

                           Cold water curls and cascades
                           Splashing our faces, drenching our bodies.


                      On the other side of riffles and cobbled rocks
                      We slap the boatman's back: relax, laugh.


                     
                         The green mile wraps it lovely arms
                         Around boulders, downstream
                         In the canyon agave flowers "pup" out rosettes
                         And at dusk, the sacred white Datura blooms.


                             I watch Lauren row in a subtle, delicate manner
                             Reading the water, finessing hydraulics, dodging boat-sucking holes.
                             She is at home and bound to her boat with a calm and
                             Passion, only a Grand Canyon boatwoman knows.


                              In this ancient terrain, I cannot grasp the vastness, or
                               The magnitude of time in the millions of years echoed in
                               Layers of rock, cliffs and slopes.


                                I can only make a grand sweep of my hand, majestically
                                Across the land and say
                                A masterpiece of this scale, the desert, mountains
                                River, are uplifting gifts of deep mystery, history


                          And the memories we made here, exist now...but will disappear


                                  
                                  Like rain that evaporates
                                  Before reaching the ground.





Monday, April 6, 2015

Lighten Up and Don't Look Down

                             
     Yes, there's still ice on the river, but we're getting there...

Geez. It's April already. Long time, no post. I'm sitting here looking out the window at pussy willows blooming, the ground snowless; dry and brown as rusty gutters. No rain. It's that edgeless time of year when there are no sharp distinctions, a sort of borderless time when clear boundaries between "this" season and "that," are pretty much truant. It isn't spring, and it isn't winter, and it sure as hell isn't even close to being summer. I'm planting seeds indoors, eager to stick my hands into warm black earth, but the earth in my backyard is still frozen solid. Birds are clearing their throats and chirping, reluctant to sing too loud and get all our hopes up.

I went on a hike with some friends this weekend, a really good one; the panoramic views of snow capped mountains meeting the sea at Turnagain Arm is such a rush. Ten and a half miles, 24,587 steps (I love my IPhone health gizmo) and a couple places on the trail so calamitous I was thankful to have brought my hiking poles. Better to dig deep with, in loose scree, said Mama Bear in my head. 

I voiced a mantra under my breath..."don't look down, don't look down, don't look down" and I didn't, or I would have been toast. Didn't know I had such an innate fear of heights until that moment; the more probable scenario, however, is I'm growing older and as you grow older you, in a sense, digress into being a big fat baby again. Mommy don't let me fall! I had a good mom; she let me fall and that taught me courage and a very useful "stick-to-it-edness", which was a serviceable way of being on this hike and countless others; not to mention the many unexpected obstructions, and various forks on the very short (though at first glance, seemingly long-haul) road of life. 

Wait. I don't mean that; the growing old part. No one "grows" into old age; it's more like you're hammered and forged into a foreign body you hardly recognize anymore. No worries, though.

Something new I've learned. I hold on to things too tightly. Like this blog and my work of creating art. Art that sustains me. A friend recently told me, when I was complaining about having too many balls juggling in the air at one time,  to just let things go. Let my writing breathe, push the ol' photo processing limits (the ones with steep learning curves), get your hands messy at the paint table, she said. Set sail for a distant shore without knowing where you're headed, or where you'll end up. Don't worry so much about "time frames." (who made that phrase up, anyway?) I love friends. They always come to the rescue, no strings attached. They teach me about air, and breathlessness.

I used to think it was a handicap, having too many ideas in my head at one time; what to focus on, which one to reel in and land. But when she told me it's OK to be working on two different projects at one time, hell three, even four (while you're ignoring your blog responsibilities), I felt a breath of fresh air blow into the atmosphere. Sometimes you just need someone to give you permission to run with it and dump all the self-imposed obligations; you know, all the heavy as a bag of hammers, "should's."  My friend didn't lay a hand on bursting my bubble; she just brought me back down to solid ground...easy-like.

So I stopped hugging the slopes, except for the scree covered ones with 300 foot drops. Post when I want; don't when I don't want. Finish projects with a loose grip, and erase that serious smirk on my face, for God's sake. Lighten up. 

It all works out.


       
           Ice on the river saying,should I stay, or should I go?